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"How to Get Away With Murder" is just as provocative and sinful as its name suggests.

The TV series on ABC — often dubbed "HTGAWM" by fans — follows powerhouse lawyer Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and her crew of cutthroat Philadelphia law students. Its story lines are laced with twists, turns, and a good amount of fake blood.

The cast of "How to Get Away With Murder." Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards.


Hidden in the scandalous depths of each episode, however, is an often overlooked reality: "HTGAWM" is a significant show.  

It boasts a diverse cast led by the award-winning Davis, who's one of few women of color leading a prime-time series.

"The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity,"Davis said on stage last year at the Emmys, quoting Harriet Tubman while accepting her award for best actress in a drama series.

She's the first black woman ever to win that category.

Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images.

But the show's diversity extends far beyond Davis. And the power of that inclusiveness surfaced in a recent fan letter to actor Jack Falahee.

The show's ensemble features two gay characters, Connor — played by Falahee — and Oliver — played by Conrad Ricamora.

In an Instagram post from Oct. 13, 2016, Falahee shared a "really lovely letter" sent to him from a fan around National Coming Out Day, earlier in the week.

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing how many of my LGBTQ friends and fans were celebrating on Coming Out Day. Some folks told the story of how they came out. Some stories were sad, some were joyous. All of their stories were courageous and beautiful. A fan, who will remain anonymous to protect their identity, sent me a really lovely letter that included this passage about how seeing Connor and Oliver on screen has helped them navigate their coming out. It really resonated with me. I wanted to take this moment to thank that person publicly, but also to thank all of you. Knowing that Connor and Oliver have, in a small way, helped some of you find a voice is truly humbling to hear. And it makes me really happy. So, thank you. If you're looking for some more info on navigating your own coming out, I encourage you to check out "Coming Out As You" at thetrevorproject.org

A photo posted by Jack Falahee (@jackfalahee) on

A portion of the letter (emphasis added):

"I wanted to thank you for the way you are representing a openly gay character in such a huge show. Connor became a role model to me since he never sees his sexual orientation as a flaw and instead is open and proud of it. I think Connor's relationship to Oliver shows a lot of people around the globe that a same-sex relationship can be as loving and complicated — there is no difference. This gave me so much hope and strength because I did no longer feel there is anything wrong with me. After watching Connor and Oliver developing as a couple I gained confidence and felt a lot better about myself. I even started to tell my family and friends that I am gay."

For Falahee, the letter truly tugged at the heartstrings.

"Knowing that Connor and Oliver have, in a small way, helped some of you find a voice is truly humbling to hear," he wrote in the caption. "And it makes me really happy. So, thank you."

Conrad Ricamora (left) and Jack Falahee. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Point Foundation.

"Although it still was a scary thing to do, I don't think I ever would have been brave enough to [come out as gay] if it was not for you and the way you play Connor," Falahee's fan wrote. "So, although I unfortunately do not know you personally, I feel like I owe you a lot."

It's critical that we see some version of ourselves on our TV screens because it helps empower us to be who we are.

When South Asian actor Aziz Ansari blasted through barriers to create his own hit TV series, "Master of None," it mattered. When Sam Esmail, creator of "Mr. Robot," thanked his family on stage at the Golden Globes by simply saying "shukran" ("thank you" in Arabic), it mattered.

And when a young Leslie Jones discovered Whoopi Goldberg, it mattered.

"The day I saw Whoopi Goldberg on television, I cried so hard," Jones said on "The View" in July 2016. "Because I kept looking at my daddy going, 'Oh my god! There's somebody on TV who looks like me! She looks like me! Daddy! I can be on TV. I can be on TV. '"

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.

"HTGAWM" fans probably aren't learning how, exactly, they can get away with murder. But they are learning how to be themselves.

And I think we can all agree that's a much better takeaway.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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